A Street Artist’s Bristol Home Features an Incredible Exterior Mural and Illustrations on the Kitchen Cabinets

published Feb 8, 2021

A Street Artist’s Bristol Home Features an Incredible Exterior Mural and Illustrations on the Kitchen Cabinets

published Feb 8, 2021
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Bedrooms
Square feet
811
Sq ft
811
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Name: Alex Lucas and family
Location: Montpelier, Bristol, UK
Size: 811 square feet
Years Lived In: 15 years, owned

Bright blue walls, painted pink flowers and white birds, and a sign that says “Welcome to Montpelier”: this is where Alex Lucas, a local Bristolian illustrator and street artist lives with her husband and toddler. Alex has lived in this house for 15 years, and over the years has transformed it into the cozy and quirky home they have now. From the bedroom wardrobe door that is full of interesting objects (it was handmade by a friend), to the bathroom that’s been wallpapered with cut out “Beano” comic strips, to the hand-painted kitchen mural, Alex’s house is full of interesting stories to tell.

Credit: Viv Yapp

“I am very lucky to have a very creative carpenter husband so we have crafted/painted and adulterated most items in this house!” Alex tells me. “Many of the pieces in the house have found me, rather than I have consciously gone out to buy a specific item. There are stories behind every object, some known to me and others not, many are collected or found and others have been gifted. When I put the objects together, they form a new narrative and every so often, I enjoy rearranging them to create newer ones still. It’s like living in a life size doll house.”

Credit: Viv Yapp

Not only are the couple handy inside the house, as a street artist, Alex took this opportunity and painted the front of the house back in 2011, and even used the front window as her “window shop,” selling her work to the public every Saturday. “I feel that as we grow up, there are pressures to conform to a certain way of living and to stand out and be different is considered strange and scary,” Alex tells me, “Why should we all live in gray/ dull boxes? Who told us that? For me, so many people spend time decorating the inside of their house but for me, it was just as important to decorate the outside, too.”

Credit: Viv Yapp

During the pandemic in 2020, Alex had the sudden urge to repaint the birdhouse, as she felt that the mural had lost its energy and vibrancy in recent years and she hoped that repainting the front of her house during this uncertain time would bring a smile to people’s faces and be a sign of positive change. So 17 days and six liters of paint later, Alex has done just that. The red birdhouse has become the blue birdhouse. “The process of painting the Birdhouse became a shared experience within our community and I felt a huge sense of positivity that art REALLY can bring people together. It showed me that something as simple as painting the front of your house really could make a difference.”

Credit: Viv Yapp

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I love spaces to be playful and full of character! It’s inspiring to walk into a room that explores a visual narrative and says a lot about the person/people inhabiting it. I like my spaces to provide a feast for the eyes, which never stops exploring; the more you look, the more you see. 

Inspiration: For me, childhood is a massive inspiration. I spent a lot of time drawing and playing in my room whilst my mum was working. I remember a pair of William Morris patterned curtains and every time you looked at them, different faces would appear. I like to collect things that interact with my imagination rather than worry if it would match the sofa! 

Credit: Viv Yapp

Favorite Element:  This sounds really odd, but I love the stairway space leading up to the top floor! There is a real sense of being below deck on an old ship. Most of the timber in the house is reclaimed and came from shipyards and railways (in 2007, not many people were interested in using reclaimed materials so large pieces of timber were pretty cheap back then!) Of course, the vibrancy of the mural on the exterior is a joy to come home to every time I leave the house.

Biggest Challenge: Radiators. They are the total fun sponge of any house. I’ve always done things on a budget and buying nice radiators is pretty pricey and never been a priority, especially if they function well. To replace them seems like an unnecessary waste of materials just for an aesthetic purpose. 

Credit: Viv Yapp

What Friends Say: We live in a brilliantly eccentric community and many of our friends are similar in their quirky ways so I think we all vibe from each other to a certain extent. COVID has obviously restricted our movements and I’ve missed being in other people’s spaces and sharing mine with others, too.

Biggest Embarrassment: The curtains and fabric bed in the spare bedroom. Minor I know, but a few years ago I bought these amazing Indian printing wooden blocks and thought I would give them a go. I think I was in a bit of a rush at the time because they are not very well printed and I’m not sure about the colors! 

Credit: Viv Yapp

Proudest DIY: I’m pretty proud of the Beano bathroom when I finished it as I had carefully cut out and chosen certain comic strips that would be on eye level when you sat on the toilet. I’m also fond of the mural in the kitchen, especially now I have an 18-month-old son who likes to pretend to feed the animals.

Biggest Indulgence: The sofa and cushions. After I had my son, I spent a lot of time sitting and breastfeeding and I had never bought a sofa before as every one was secondhand and passed on from family and friends. The old sofa started to sag in the middle and I decided I had enough and invested in a lovely burnt orange beauty of sofa. The cushions were also a mighty spend but I love them — they are a limited edition design by Luke Edward Hall, especially for Habitat.  

Credit: Viv Yapp

Best Advice: Trust yourself! Don’t be afraid to buy things YOU like not just because they are on trend. Sometimes being uncool is the coolest thing you can be!

Dream Sources: Flea markets, car boot sales, drawing and painting on furniture! 

Resources

Credit: Viv Yapp

PAINT COLOURS

  • Paint — Blue Rhapsody – Valspar
  • Kitchen/dining room — Mink Frost – Valspar
  • Kitchen/dining room — Ivory Keys – Valspar
  • Bathroom — Emerald Enchantment – Valspar
Credit: Viv Yapp

LIVING ROOM

Credit: Viv Yapp

KITCHEN/DINING ROOM

  • Hand-screen printed curtains — I printed these a few years ago! (ignore the sewing!)
  • The bench seat and kitchen storage — An isometric plywood bench with built-in storage made by my husband!
  • Sofa — eBay!
  • Artwork- Bristol Crane — Simon Tozer
  • City mashup with sprawling kittens — Kozy and Dan
Credit: Viv Yapp

MAIN BEDROOM

  • Fabric Bed Head — ​Fabric and wooden print blocks from Artique
  • Curtains — John Lewis
  • Bed Sheets — Toast
  • Indian Cow on wall — found from an indian market
  • Light Shades — Abode Living
Credit: Viv Yapp

SPARE BEDROOM

  • Copper antique washing bowl — French car boot sale
  • Hand Printed bed head from IKEA

Thanks Alex!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.